State of Economy a Powerful Indictment of Modi Govt: Manmohan's Broadside on Job Data, Note Ban
The former PM also rubbished the government’s claims on employment, saying growth rate was stagnant and people were no longer satisfied with the figures put up by the Centre to justify its work.
File image of former PM Manmohan Singh. (Image: Getty Images)
New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday attacked the Narendra Modi government over its handling of the economy, saying it had failed to fulfil the promises made to the people on the eve of the 2014 elections.
The leaders, who were speaking at the launch of Sibal’s book Shades of Truth, said the hasty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had hurt enterprises while the youth are still waiting for jobs the Prime Minister had promised.
Singh said the state of affairs in the country, particularly the economy, were a "powerful indictment" of the BJP-led government.
Rubbishing the Centre’s claims on job data, Singh said, “Our youth are desperately waiting for the promised two crore jobs. Employment growth rate has been declining in the past four years. People aren't impressed with the figures being put out by the Modi government to justify creation of large number of jobs.”
"While industrial production and exports are stagnant, programmes like Make in India and Stand Up India are yet to make a meaningful impact on growth," he said.
On the issue of demonetisation, the former PM said “nothing concrete has been done to bring back billions of dollars held back as black money abroad”.
Sibal, too, criticised the note ban, saying: “The great leader after 2014 gave us demonetisation where we lost 1.5% GDP. In any other country, he would have to resign. Here was a man with majority in Parliament and what has he done for four years in terms of economic growth and liberalisation?”
The statement comes just a few days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its annual report said as many as 99.3 per cent of the old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, which were banned overnight in November 2016, had been returned.
Questioning the growth rate, Sibal said, “He [Modi] charged us that because of policy paralysis, we couldn’t take India forward but this policy paralysis brought 8.2% GDP, which has never happened in the history of this country. That was the result of policy paralysis. I assume there's no policy paralysis today, [then] where is GDP?”
Singh flayed the government for its apathy towards farmers, saying the establishment had not solved the agrarian crisis and farmers were still not receiving the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
On the issue of foreign policy, he said relations with neighbours had deteriorated in the past four years and the neighbourhood was far less secured than it was in 2014.
"The Modi government has slowly but surely undermined the values that any democratic polity should fiercely protect. Important national institutions vital for good governance are experiencing unprecedented new strains," he said.
"Academic freedom is sought to be curbed, the environment in our universities is being vitiated. All this is a powerful indictment on the Modi government's performance and there has to be a meaningful national debate on issues raised by Kapil Sibal. So, I sincerely hope that this is the beginning of that national debate and we all need that and together with an alternative narrative that the country needs to study and adopt," he said.
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